Welcome To The Cradle Chronicles!

These are the crazy confessions of a first time mommy, and her adventures in world "mom-ination." If you are coming to this blogsite by way of People.com, chances are you’re already familiar with my writing style and “Mommy-centric” blog fodder. If not, I'll introduce myself with this brief summary: Suffice it to say, I had a baby in May. Now, I’m not suggesting this defines me entirely, but it certainly goes a long way toward explaining my daily trials and tribulations with spit-up and dirty diapers. Which brings me to… Welcome to The Cradle Chronicles! I hope you’ll continue coming back again and again for more of my motherhood anecdotes, and I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to follow me on Twitter too!

--Photos in Welcome section courtesy of Mimosa Arts Photography--

March 28, 2014

 

 

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.”
― Plato

I suppose I was predestined to be a musician in some fashion or another. If asked, my parents would tell you I came out of the womb singing… Well, and talking, but that’s another story altogether. Even as a child, I heard the world through song. All of the poignant moments, and even some of the inconsequential ones, were vividly and dramatically laced with accompanying symphonies or ditties. Endless loops of made up melodies (which, God bless the 80’s, probably sounded vaguely similar to something by Duran Duran or Whitney Houston) danced in my head as I rode the bus to school and spent my recesses scaling the jungle gym. And when the movie soundtracks for Flashdance and Beaches came out? Forget about it. I was putty in their musical hands.

I sometimes feel my life has been a never-ending Broadway show. Every now and then, there has even been an impromptu tap routine to go along with it. I’m just that kind of gal. Perhaps I was meant to be raised in the Vaudeville era, or to lend my artistic talents to the theatrically satirical world of cabaret. Can’t you just envision me strutting my stuff in fishnets and a flapper costume, and entertaining the masses on the Orpheum Circuit? If you need additional assistance picturing that, check out my second album, Coffee & Men: An EP For Childish Adults. You might be left wondering if you’ve been beamed back to a 1920’s speakeasy. But I digress. The point is that music has always been in my life, and that’s putting it mildly.

 

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
― Victor Hugo

In many ways, music has spoken for me. It has been my mouthpiece and my sounding board. It has also been my therapist, my saving grace, my catharsis, and my drug.  It has served as a refuge, a wastebasket, a punching bag, and a holy grail… often all at once. So it is with a happy heart that I recognize this same passion in my daughter, Gray.

While she’s only 22 months old, Gray’s love of music is undeniable. In fact, for the most part, our days begin and end with song. Gray rocks out to her “Bath Time Jam” playlist while in the tub, is frequently found strumming my guitar or tinkering away on her mini piano, and unconsciously hums when she’s in her happy place. She even makes up random little tunes about Elmo, and diapers, and broccoli. (Though not all at the same time, thankfully…) We have kitchen dance parties to Frank Sinatra, and nary a car ride is had without her lengthy list of special requests. Oh! And God forbid I watch an episode of The Voice without her. That girl has some serious opinions about who deserves a four-chair turn! Anyway, I have no doubt there’s music running through Gray’s veins, which is why my husband and I decided to enroll her in a class called Music Together. A friend brought us along for a demo session about a year ago, and we were immediately hooked. Now I won’t lie, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of “Mommy & Me” type classes…  or maybe it’s just that I feel so darn out of place at most of them. But there’s something about Music Together that drew me in, even in all of my cynical glory. Our fabulous teacher, Miss Kym, always manages to be equally encouraging to parents and children alike, which I thoroughly appreciate. I asked her to explain the philosophy behind that, and here’s what she said: “I think if parents are having fun, then their children will have fun too! Our kids usually know how we are feeling. If you are relaxed and having fun singing and dancing, so will your child; our kids are wired to absorb and learn from the adult role models in their lives.“ For some background, Music Together is an international research-based parent/child music program, developed at Princeton’s Center for Music and Young Children. And as Miss Kym puts it, “It has been helping children and their grown ups find their inner ability to create music for 26 years. Classes are designed to get parents involved in the nurturing of their child’s musical growth, while their young brains are developing. We learn the most from the people we love the most in our lives, and that includes parents, grandparents, caregivers, and older siblings. So with all of that in mind, you will find a nice mix of children in class, ages birth to 5, who are at different stages of development. We sing, dance, and create a multivitamin of musicality!“ The way I see it, it’s the perfect opportunity for Gray and I to indulge our inner songstresses.  I know, I know… for some of you, this notion makes your stage fright heebie jeebies work overtime. Perhaps the thought of singing publicly is right up there with wanting to streak naked through Dodger stadium, or be covered from head to toe in tarantulas. But I think you’d be surprised at just how informal and relaxed these classes are. Nobody calls on you to belt out the Star Spangled Banner by yourself, or to dance the Hokey Pokey while all of the other parents point and laugh. The fact is we’re all there to encourage our own children, so nobody cares about what anyone else is doing. (Otherwise known as: If you’re being goofy and making a fool of yourself, it means I am too! All for the love of our kids, right?) Miss Kym often tells us, “No performance anxiety is necessary here. We are just going to share our love of making music with our kids in a musically rich environment. You don’t need to sound like Carrie Underwood to be a good role model.” And in a music-driven town like Nashville, that’s always nice to hear!

Letting Her Musical Spirit Fly!

Letting Her Musical Spirit Fly!

 

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

In class, my little Gray is an observer; she takes it all in and files it away for future use. She may not be the first to vocalize or boogie down in front of her peers, but rest assured she’s singing her heart out in the car on the way home. I’ve come to realize the lessons are sinking in, whether or not it’s reflected in class. Miss Kym is good about reminding us that our children are free to move around and respond to music in their own unique way, a mindset I whole-heartedly respect. I’m glad my child can feel free to participate in a manner that makes her comfortable. None of the children are being prepped for infant American Idol try-outs, or to become the next Shirley Temple. And no Honey Boo Boo mamas (or papas, for that matter) allowed! Each child gets to set their own pace, and if that means they spend the entire class walking in circles, so be it.  The truth is, the students are never completely ignoring the music, even when they aren’t interested in directly taking part. Sometimes Gray never even leaves my lap, and that’s okay too. I simply want to nurture a passion I know is in already in her heart, without putting pressure on her to “perform.” I want to give Gray the encouragement she needs to explore how music can feed her soul. Who knows, maybe she’ll wind up pursuing opera, or becoming a boy band groupie (if that’s the case, you’ll likely find her dad off crying in a corner somewhere), or playing tuba in the marching band. Regardless of the genre of music she embraces, or her method of articulating it, I’m certain she’ll continue to make music an integral part of her life. This is helping to lay the foundation.

 

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”
― Albert Einstein

I acknowledge that not every child is destined to “think in music” as Einstein did, but I feel they all deserve the opportunity to try it on for size. I’ve been somewhat discouraged by the number of art and music programs that have been cut from schools across the country in recent years. I believe that a crucial part of providing our children with an education is teaching them to communicate their artistic passions as well as their academic ones. There’s merit in learning to follow cadence and rhythm, to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing something through self-expression. Yes, I agree that children need to learn how to solve algebraic equations and conduct science experiments too… But what’s life without art?  And what happens to those children who aren’t fulfilled by a history lesson, or a math problem, or a French class? Where do they go to be challenged and satisfied? I recently saw a Youtube video of a four-year-old boy riding in the car with his father. The kid was in his car seat bawling his eyes out, and my first thought was, “Ok, what prompted this kid’s tears? Is he tired? Hungry? Did he lose his favorite binkie?” The truth is, the little boy was overcome with emotion over a song his dad was listening to on the radio (“Say Something,” by A Great Big World). That sweet little soul couldn’t possibly have understood the literal meaning of the song, but the intention of it certainly resonated with him. The song prompted a feeling so inexplicable that he wept, even at four years old. Incredible, right? And that’s the beauty of music.  It deeply moves us in a way nothing else can.

Anyway, the point is—and I swear I do have one—I’m challenging you to really put some thought into your child’s music education. March is technically Music In Our Schools Month, but let’s bring it home too! There’s no wrong way to introduce music to a child; it doesn’t matter if your kids are two or ten, and it doesn’t have to be through a Music Together class (though if you’re interested, here’s the link: www.musictogether.com. It’s an international program, so you’re likely to find a class near you, regardless of where you live!). Moreover, it isn’t just about providing your youngsters with children’s music—Disney tunes are fantastic, but open their ears and minds. I strongly support playing anything and everything, so I challenge you to go outside of your comfort zone! My husband and I listen to a variety of music, from The Beatles, to Willie Nelson, to Dixieland Jazz. The idea is to give Gray a well-rounded selection, so she can decide what does and doesn’t light a fire in her belly. The rest is up to her.

A Special thanks to Miss Kym Johnson of Music City Music Together! (Photo credit: Andi Zack)

A Special thanks to Miss Kym Johnson of Music City Music Together! (Photo credit: Andi Zack)

 

Happy listening to you and yours!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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  • Kelly says:

    We love our Music Together class as well here in Florida. My daughter has been going since she was 11 months old. I love the CD’s and always seem to be humming those tunes that I cannot get out of my head.

    I love too that the music choices and genres are not any that are played on the radio today or a few decades past. Not that there’s anything wrong with top 40 music but it is refreshing that most of the songs are old school kids standards and even better that I already know most of the words.

March 21, 2014
Gray & I

Gray & I

 

Dusk had descended upon our quiet house and the night was rapidly taking its place. The moon ominously hung in a starless sky, prompting an eerie sense of foreboding and casting a faint glow on the neighboring rooftops. A tempestuous wind danced leaves across the pavement, sending them skittering down the street like gangs of rowdy hooligans. It swayed broken tree limbs to its soundless and haunting melody, and left behind a frosty chill that stung like barbed wire. I sat on my couch and pulled my bathrobe up over my shoulders, as the tapping of winter branches against the windowpane sent shivers down my spine.

But that wasn’t what made my skin prickle.

The movement came from my left and without warning, and I cried out as I caught a sudden flash of bared teeth. She was headed straight for me, and I was frozen in place. I had prepared myself for this eventuality, but no amount of mental rehearsal could overcome the sheer surprise of it all.  There wasn’t enough time to fend off the attack. Her fangs sank into my flesh, piercing my pant leg and sending a fiery pain through my senses.  The initiation had begun.

 

C’mon, admit it, I had you there for a second… It sounds like I stole an excerpt from some absurdly cheesy and ghoulish novel, right?  Believe it or not, while somewhat embellished for the sake of fun and flair, that story is mostly true. And it happened to me!! Take a deep breath, ladies and gentlemen, and don’t let your imaginations run wild. We aren’t headed for the zombie apocalypse or world domination by vampire. You see, the story-prompting bite came courtesy of my 22-month old daughter (aka the Nosferatu wannabe), and the initiation was one that I imagine has caught many a parent unawares. Yes, my sweet little Gray decided to demonstrate her frustration one evening by putting her brand new (not to mention exceedingly sharp) canines to good use. On my leg.

In that very unexpected moment, her stunt had me reeling. Where did I go wrong? Should I have refrained from reading Twilight while Gray was in the womb? Should we start perusing the real estate market in Transylvania? I hear property is cheap over there.

Clearly, I jest. I realize it isn’t some epic parenting failure that lead to this scenario and, more importantly, I don’t feel Gray has done anything wrong. (Though try telling that to my leg!) I’m not suggesting I sanction biting- my husband and I do our best to teach our daughter to be loving, kind, respectful, and gentle. But social graces aren’t necessarily built in at birth; sometimes they come from hands on learning. Or, in this case, “teeth-on” learning. Aside from the substantial role teething played in Gray’s little taste test (I wasn’t kidding when I’ve mentioned her being a foodie!), I know she is trying things on for size. My daughter is testing the waters, gauging our reactions, and seeing how far the envelope can be pushed. She’s almost two, after all, and two-year-olds are notorious for pushing boundaries and parenting buttons! Gray is finding her own limitations, as well as ours. And apparently, this included spontaneously chomping down on the beefiest section of my thigh. Which for the record, and thankfully, hasn’t happened since.

I understand biting is a fairly typical phase for kids Gray’s age to go through. The same goes for hitting, pushing, screaming, throwing miscellaneous household items, kicking, and any other adventurous form of self-expression that a tiny human might experiment with. (And that might render their parents the pariahs of the preschool community, if not nipped in the bud!) I generally think these spectacular feats of derring-do are attempted out of curiosity and a desire to be better understood. And also, because I imagine teething really sucks. Pun intended. Alas, inquiring two-year-old minds are nothing if not spirited and headstrong, right? I like that Gray keeps us on our toes, and that she’s eager to explore new ways of communicating… Even if that means I might need to invest in full body padding, or tote around garlic and holy water from time to time.  (Look out, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there’s a new act in town!) It’s all part of our parenting journey and her learning process.

If you’re wondering how I responded to the ambush, I’ll admit I involuntarily shouted “OUCH!” It may have been slightly louder and more enthusiastic than I would have liked, given my disorientation, but it did the trick. It startled Gray into retreating. (Back away from the leg, and keep your teeth where I can see ‘em!) I actually think the fact that she hurt me caused her more pain than it did me. She immediately burst into tears. I took a deep breath, firmly but lovingly told her, “Please don’t bite, that really hurt Mommy.” Then I changed the subject to get her mind off of it.  Ah, the art of distraction.

I certainly don’t want this blog post to make you to think I take my parenting responsibilities lightly, or that I view serial biting as a trivial issue… that’s a different story altogether. I’ve had friends whose children were fixated on biting for an extended period of time, and it was no laughing matter. It was baffling, frustrating, alarming, and alienating for everyone involved. Not to mention painful! During a lunch date a few years ago, one of my friends pulled back her blouse sleeve to reveal an arm peppered with black and blue bite marks, courtesy of her son. It looked like piranhas had been feasting. So I certainly take that side of it seriously! I’m only poking fun at my own experience, because it’s mine to laugh at.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine!

Laughter Is The Best Medicine!

 

In my case, laughter isn’t terribly hard to come by, since it was such a brief encounter of the nipping kind. I don’t anticipate my daughter entering the pro-biting circuit any time soon, and I know the action wasn’t intentionally malicious. I don’t think the occurrence denotes aggressive tendencies, or abnormal development, or even that my child is channeling Dracula. It’s a reminder (albeit a somewhat physically unpleasant one) that my kid is just that— a kid. Not that I’ll forget that fact any time soon, given the number of toys I step on daily, or the stash of Cheerios currently in my purse!

Despite her fairly impressive ability to communicate, Gray doesn’t always have the vocabulary to explain her feelings with words alone. This means she sometimes resorts to other ways of getting her point across. I’ll admit words and hand gestures are preferable, but every now and then I suppose there may be a more “unique” approach that surfaces. This was one of those times. In the moment it happened, my goal was to discourage the biting, without inadvertently causing Gray to focus on the attention it triggered. And, of course, I’m keeping an eye out to make sure she isn’t attempting her “love bites” on anyone else! As long as Gray isn’t gnawing on her friends at daycare, I’m not going to worry too much about it. Finding constructive ways to let our children know their behavior is inappropriate, without putting too much emphasis on an act we hope they don’t repeat, can be a curious little balancing act, can’t it? That said, I couldn’t ignore the opportunity to joke about it with all of you. The vampire references are just WAY too amusing to pass up! It’s a comfort to be able to share experiences that might seem like a mountain when they transpire, and a molehill in retrospect. It’s nice to know some of you have gone through something similar as well. Please feel free to share your own funny experiences in the comments section below. I love hearing from all of you…

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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March 14, 2014

 

 

Hummus!

Bean There, Done That, Ate The Hummus!

 

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart.

The more you eat, the more you… want to keep eating them.

 

What did you think I was going to say?

 

Yep, this week’s recipe is all about beans. Actually, it’s about that classic bean dip we all know and love: hummus. My daughter is a huge hummus fan and, truth be told, so am I. I find it’s the perfect afternoon snack when I’m losing steam… a little bit of protein to up my energy level and satiate my hunger, and a lot of flavor to satiate the foodie in me.

Traditionally, hummus is made with chickpeas. In fact, my understanding is that the word hummus actually means chickpeas in Arabic… That said, I was feeling a little sassy about my dip-making, so you’re getting my glorified, slightly-Italianesque-super-garlicky version. (No really, you could fend off vampires with this one!) I suppose the lack of chickpeas and Tahini means we should really be referring to it as just a plain ol’ bean dip, but doesn’t that sound so dreadfully boring? You won’t call the food police, will you?

“Hummus” It is. Or, more specifically, the “Bean There, Done That, Ate The Hummus!”

 

Oh yeah, and did I mention it’s kid-friendly?!

Gray-Hummus

Finger Licking Good

 

Bean There, Done That, Ate The Hummus!

(Recipe created by: Jenna von Oy)

 

Ingredients: 

 

16 oz. Can of Cannelini beans

1 Cup Ricotta fresca

1/4 Cup Spanish olive oil

2 Garlic cloves

6 Sprigs Italian parsley

1 Meyer lemon (juiced, plus the zest)

1 tsp Sea salt

3/4 tsp Granulated sugar

1/2 tsp Hot Paprika

 

Directions:  

~ Put all ingredients in the food processor, and blend until well mixed! It’s that easy. I like to serve it with wedges of Naan or Pita, that have been brushed with a little olive oil, and lightly grilled. ENJOY!! (Gray certainly did…)

 

Gray The Hummus Lover!

Gray The Hummus Lover!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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March 7, 2014

 

 

               Sundays are a sacred day of the week in our house. Yes, there’s the obvious role our faith plays in that sanctity, but it has also become a day of family tradition for us. We have begun to bust our tails to get any necessary projects done on Saturdays, so that Sundays can be a day of relaxation and togetherness. I typically make Brad and I a huge breakfast of mimosas, bacon, and bourbon-soaked French toast (Gray can’t wait until she’s old enough to participate in that ritual). We watch old school Sesame Street episodes, catch up on shows we’ve missed during the week, play with our puppies, cuddle, and enjoy the outdoors whenever possible. But one of the neatest elements of our Sunday routine has become our weekly family Skype session. At noon, my side of the brood gets together via the Internet, and we play catch up across the miles. Since we are all spread out these days (Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Connecticut), I cherish these weekly, hour-long chats, which are always filled with comedy and chaos. More often than not, my Basset Hound is howling in the background, Gray is tearing my office apart, my sister’s dog is snoring loudly, my parent’s doorbell is ringing, and boisterous laughing can be heard from every household represented on the call. We all have our roles to play: Brad generally pops his head in to say “hello,” but leaves us to our antics. My parents customarily speak too close to the microphone, distrustful of technology and its advancements. My sister, Alyssa, is generally being goofy and affectionate with her new husband, Tony. My littlest brother, Tyler, can be found telling long-winded stories, demonstrating sign language (which he’s fluent in), and tinkering with strange, MacGyver-esque things like challenging himself to pick a lock in under thirty seconds… You know, just to see if he can. And my brother, Pete, is the voice of calm in all of it, inserting dry comments whenever appropriate. He never fails to make the wittiest joke of the day. As for me, I always show up with a cup of strong coffee, my sarcasm, Gray perched happily on my lap, and tales of our most recent adventures together. Lately I can’t seem to squeeze a shower in before our call, so I’m typically in sweatpants or PJs, hair askew like some 80’s Aquanet commercial. I often sport maple syrup on my T-shirt, dog hair on my pants, and bits of Gray’s oatmeal in my hair. I’m fairly certain my family has forgotten what I look like in makeup and real clothes, but I’m okay with that. If anyone should be able to witness me in all of my harried motherhood glory, it’s my family.  I love that we don’t have to arrive gift-wrapped or sugarcoated. We come as we are, and that’s the way it should be.

I guess I should get to the point…  I have motherhood to thank for resurrecting all of this treasured time together. After decades of only getting to see each other at holidays, using weddings as a family reunion platform, and trying to find time for monthly calls to fill each other in, Gray has become the perfect excuse to congregate more often. I couldn’t be more grateful. Since children change so quickly, developing fun new characteristics on a daily basis, no one wants to miss seeing her grow up– hence, the introduction of our Skype sessions. I wish I could say it was my idea in the first place, but alas, it was not. No matter, I love the opportunity to share each and every bit of news with my parents and siblings, and to hear about theirs in return. As a result, a close-knit family has been brought even closer, and Gray gets to spend extra time with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles… even if we can’t exactly reach out and touch someone!

I am forever indebted to you, Skype!

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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  • Desiree says:

    What a beautiful tradition! Skype has been a savior in my household as my husband frequently travels for work. Sometimes, technology gets the better of us; it causes us to forget to watch the orld around us. Others, it rekindles excitement and connection. It brings us back together in a way that the telephone often cannot. I love to read your stories and I love that your family is using whatever possible means to stay connected and watch her grow together.

February 28, 2014

Let’s be honest, one’s parenting style is usually a combination of methods. Those methods are based on ideas we’ve read about in magazines or books, techniques we’ve discovered while surfing the Internet, advice we’ve received from friends and family, a lifetime of observing other people’s tactics, and a whole lot of personal trial and error. We consider all of our past experiences, mix in a bit of outside influence, and then forge our own unique parenting path. Which is, I believe, exactly as it should be.

Lately, I’ve become keenly aware of the role my past plays in how I raise my daughter. It turns out I’m totally guilty of helping history to repeat itself—for better or worse! If you’re even remotely confused by what I’m talking about, I’m referring to those funny little phrases that leave your lips only seconds before you think, “Crap. Did I just channel my mother?” You know, like the moment your kids are fighting in the back seat of the car, and you find yourself saying, “Stop it right now or I’m pulling this car over!”  Inevitably, we bring some of our childhood experiences with us… we can only hope it’s the good stuff.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to add a new category to my blog: “Then & Now.” It is a way to incorporate some of the stories and pictures from my own past, many which seem to parallel my current parenting adventures. If nothing else, I figure you’ll enjoy laughing at the ridiculous photos I’ve dredged up!

 

Sit Down!

Sit Down! (Left: little me in 1979/Right: Gray in 2014)

 

For my first edition of “Then & Now,” I thought I’d tackle this little childhood gem: my propensity to climb on televisions, tables, sofas, and the like. Of course, since payback’s a you-know-what, my daughter delights in the same pastime. Ne’er a day goes by that I don’t catch myself shouting the words, “Sit down!” into the wind. In fact, I use that phrase so often that Gray has begun telling herself to sit down before the words have even escaped my lips. This scenario is typically followed by the sort of maniacal laughter only a two year-old (well, almost two) can deliver. The impish gleam in her eyes is a familiar one, and it takes me back to my youth… Oh how we rascals love to scale the furniture!

 

Wish me luck. I need it.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

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February 21, 2014
Accessory Queen

My Lil’ Accessory Queen

 

        When I was about ten years old, a little boy named Mikey** (**This name has been changed to protect the fashion “unconscious”…) lived across the street. He was your typical five-year old it seemed, except for the fact that he was mildly obsessed with a pair of canary yellow rain boots. No joke, I never saw the kid without them. It’s a 95-degree, scorcher of a summer day? Canary yellow rain boots. There’s two feet of snow, and the pond is covered with ice? Canary yellow rain boots. I recall feeling somewhat sorry for his mother who, I suspect, had visions of Cross Trainers, cowboy kicks, Nike high tops, and Buster Brown saddle shoes dancing in her head at night. A pair of Chuck Taylor’s would probably have made her downright drunk with enthusiasm! But alas, there were only the aforementioned canary yellow rain boots. I never quite understood Mikey’s fascination, but those galoshes made his world go ‘round. I even overheard his mother mention that he would launch into hysterics if she didn’t let him sleep in them; temper tantrums ensued if she fought him on wearing them to school. (Which transpired every morning, by the way, because apparently he felt sneakers were the devil incarnate.) Oh yes, and did I fail to mention he often paired those boots with his Batman cape? He was the best-dressed superhero on the block. Anyway, I recall wondering why his mother bothered battling his favorite ensemble in the first place, since everybody knows you can’t argue logic with a five year-old. Heck, you can’t argue logic with some adults, never mind a Kindergartner. Children don’t care that recess might not be as constructive… what kid preemptively thinks about the trials and tribulations of climbing a jungle gym in Wellingtons? (I can only imagine what an adventure dodgeball must have been!) Regardless, I am reminded of this quirky little neighborhood anecdote, because of my daughter’s current obsession with hats… and legwarmers… and barrettes… and sunglasses. The list goes on. Yes, this month’s blog is about something totally frivolous: accessories.

I know, I know, parenting is rife with complex and meaningful things to discuss and contemplate, such as existentialism as it relates to breastfeeding, and the metaphysics of motherhood. (Don’t go rushing to look those subjects up on Wikipedia; I’m totally making them up.) Nevertheless, sometimes it’s just nice to talk about the simple things in life… to take a break from the controversial “mommy war” woes, or our self-inflicted fears of inadequate parenting. Every now and then, it’s a relief to have a shallow escape. It’s much like choosing to watch Pretty Woman (for the ten thousandth time), instead of that documentary on the hostile takeover of machines. Of course, having a one-year old on my hands makes the idea of sitting through an entire movie of ANY kind highly impractical (if not laughable), but I think you catch my drift. This blog post may not be nearly as thought-provoking as some of the others I’ve written, but I’d like to think it has its merits.

 

And now back to the academic nobility of accessories. So to speak.

More Accessories

Hats, & Barrettes, & Bows, OH MY!

 

My little Gray is a girly-girl all the way, which sometimes surprises me, given that she isn’t overly dainty. That said, she loves her bows, bracelets, tiaras, and tutus. If she were capable of it, she’d scale Mt. Everest –or at least her armoire– to retrieve a pair of sparkly sunglasses. And you think I was a cap collector as a kid? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, my friends! My daughter puts my hat loving to shame. There isn’t a tam she’d turn down, or a beret she’d balk at. In fact… one evening, when she was in a bit of a foul mood thanks to teething miseries, she pointed to a particularly fancy fedora on my closet shelf. “Hat,” she whimpered through crocodile tears. My husband retrieved it for her and she placed it on her own head. The waterworks immediately stopped. “More hat,” she said with a small smirk, and pointed to a winter knit that hung from a hook on our wall. Again, my husband took it down and handed it to her. A moment later, once the requested brims were piled high on top of her head, we were looking at the most contented girl in the world; no tears were in sight, as she pranced around in her happy hats for the next several hours. Who needs bribery or “time-outs” when you have remedy by hat collection?

Grocery Shopping

Too Cool For Grocery Shopping

 

When I say my daughter “loves accessories,” I’m not sure you can truly appreciate the depth of that statement. I mean she won’t get out of the car without the perfect acoutrements. She requests pigtails and bows before grocery store outings. She steals bracelets from my closet, and drags out my most colorful shoes. She’d bring her scarves into the bathtub if I let her. (Alas, the line must be drawn somewhere, as rubber duckies do not require neckwear. At least as far as I know, anyway.) My point is, Gray adores accessories in a way that is different from most toddlers. I often have mothers stop and marvel at how I “get her to keep sunglasses on.” Little do they know, that requires no effort on my part whatsoever.  One woman recently commented, “Your daughter keeps her shades on? I can’t even get my kid to keep his pants on!” Here’s hoping her kid isn’t in his 20’s.

 

Gray’s fondness happens to be for accessories, but I find it fascinating what other kids do (or don’t) latch onto as well. One of my Cradle Chronicles blog readers wrote to me in September, detailing her daughter’s obsession with wearing orange. (Orange is the new black, after all, right?) Apparently her sweet tot refuses to dress in any other color! And from what I can tell, that isn’t an anomaly. On the other side of things, there are also the items children won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. I, for one, abhorred wearing jeans until I was well into my teens. I would sooner have sported a burlap sack to elementary school, than to have poured myself into a pair of acid-washed denim dungarees. What’s that, you say? You hated jeans? But jeans are a staple!! Crazy, right? (I also despised pizza at the time, so I was clearly a bit off-kilter.)

Like Mama, Like Daughta

Like Mama, Like Daughta

 

So far, Gray isn’t shunning any articles of clothing, but she certainly has her affinities. I’m often stunned by the number of opinions she asserts, in reference to her daily apparel. Who knew 21-month olds were so particular about which color socks to wear? My baby is a fashion maven in the making—the littlest Project Runway protégé on the planet. And while I am very reluctant to encourage a material obsession with clothes (pun intended), I am a huge proponent of encouraging self-expression through one’s wardrobe. Clothing has always offered me the chance to convey my unique style and spirit, and it warms my heart to see Gray embracing the same methods.

 

Speaking of which…

Rockin' The Roller Skating Attire In The 80's... Sort Of.

Rockin’ The Roller Skating Attire In The 80′s… Sort Of.

 

Looking back, I’m terrified at some of the things I wore out in public when I was younger. Can we talk about the awful effect the 80’s had on my fashion sense?! (I suspect I’m not alone in that observation.) My Mom was a brave woman to let me experience my freedom of expression in that way. In some cases, she was a brave woman to let me out of the house at all, but we’ll let that slide for now. I hope I’ll be equally courageous in my parenting, because I think motherhood is often about adjusting your way of thinking to fit your child’s personality. Please don’t misunderstand me here- I’m not saying you shouldn’t set crucial boundaries for your child; they aren’t meant to raise themselves. The way I see it, it’s about bending without breaking, and setting my daughter on a positive path without sacrificing my own parenting convictions. It’s about letting Gray take some poetic license, without exceeding the ethical limitations I’ve set. I acknowledge that those boundaries vary from parent to parent, but mine include letting my kid pick out some of her own outfit each day. (Within reason, of course!) It might surprise you to hear this, but I’m actually a relatively conservative mom. Yes, I have tattoos and I grew up in show business, but I was raised in a fairly traditional household, by parents that wholeheartedly promoted respect and courtesy. I love that it takes all kinds to make the world, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but my husband and I tend to take an “old-fashioned” approach to our parenting. And that certainly transfers over into what Gray wears… We want our daughter to be proud of what she puts on her body. Moreover, we want her to be proud of the body that wears it. All of that said, I don’t care if she matches, or if her hair is askew (as is often the case), or if she wants to wear a pair of boy’s pants instead of a dress. Self-confidence should supersede all of those things, and if Gray feels good about her choices, I’m proud of that. Sure, there will likely come a day when I’m forced to say, “No, you can’t wear that miniskirt to school, “ or “I’m not okay with your midriff showing.” But all in due time. For now we’re just focusing on the accessories, and I’m content letting her choose her own adventure where those are concerned! I’d like to think her choices are assisting her in acquiring a sense of pride and accomplishment. No matter how insignificant it may seem in the whole scheme of things, she is still exercising her independence each time she selects her own belt or feathered hair clip.  She is learning to appreciate the decision-making process, while brushing up on her knowledge of colors and clothing-related vocabulary. Best of all, she is learning to be unique. She is learning to be her version of Gray. And that’s the only Gray there should be.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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February 14, 2014
Unspoken Love

Unspoken Love~ Photo By Mimosa Arts Photography

 

Sometimes love can be found in the subtlest of details or the briefest of moments. My daughter recently began saying those three little words every parent treasures hearing, but I knew her intentions long before the phrase “I love you” was uttered aloud. Actions truly do speak loudest!

Gray has heard those same words fall from my lips thousands of times in her young life. I don’t reserve them for special occasions or limit them to once a day. I don’t believe they lose significance over time, or suffer from the risk of being overused, or become unnecessary to articulate once the message has gotten through. I am a firm believer in reinforcement—of professing my love openly and often. Most importantly, I mean it every single time I say it. I’d like to think we all do… that such a deep expression of our hearts isn’t thrown around with reckless abandon.

I won’t lie– it is an incredible feeling to be the recipient of that dazzling assertion, especially when it’s coming from a child. The first time my daughter returned my “I love you,” I welled up with tears and called my husband at work to share the news. But if I’m being honest, Gray’s heart communicated that special sentiment long before her lips could form the sentence. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share five of my favorite moments of unspoken love…

 

1. A few months ago, Gray began calling my name when she awakens from a nap. Since she was old enough to sit up by herself, Gray would pop up, grab her pacifier, and quietly sit in bed until I came to retrieve her. These days, she sweetly calls out for me instead, even before her sleepy eyes open. I cherish knowing my face is the first thing she wants to see.

2. As you already know, I’m an animal lover through and through. Because of this fact, I tend to get very choked up when a canine best friend is lost. A dear friend’s dog recently passed away, and I took it pretty hard. I know some of our own pups are getting up there in years as well, and it’s never fun to reflect on that. Noticing that tears had formed in my eyes, Gray came over to hug me. She pulled back, looked at me intently, wiped my tears away with her little fingers, and asked, “Cry?” “Yes,” I told her, “Mommy is crying.” “Oh Honey,” she said in the motherly tone of voice I so often use with her. I immediately began smiling. Her sensitivity and empathy never fail to melt my heart!

3. Gray is incredibly affectionate, and unafraid of showing it. One evening, I absentmindedly let my hair down from a ponytail and shook it out. As I ran my fingers through the tangles, I happened to glance over at Gray. She was watching in awe, with a goofy little grin on her face. “Oh Mommy,” she cried when we made eye contact. She then put her hands on either side of my face and went in for a giant, sloppy kiss. I guess I should let my hair down more often… literally and figuratively.

4. No one else in this world is quite so enthusiastic when I walk into a room. One afternoon, when I returned from a meeting, Gray greeted me at the top of the stairs. “Mommy’s home!” she shouted with unrestrained glee. Of course that sentence was followed by, “Boobie’s home!” But who’s counting? At least she put me before the breastaurant!

5. I cuddle with her EVERY morning, and she lets me. Sure, sometimes I have to share her with our five dogs, but there’s plenty of love to go around.  We cozy up on the couch, huddle under my bathrobe, and watch Sesame Street together. It’s our special time to quietly adore one another, and I’ll take advantage of it for as long as I can!

 

Cuddling

Cherishing Our Cuddle Time

 

I thoroughly enjoy hearing from all of you… What are some of the beautiful ways in which your children say ”I love you” without words? If you feel inspired to let me know, please do!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

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Until next time…

  • Keri says:

    One day long ago when I was driving home from work after picking up my son who was about 2.5 years old, he exclaimed from the backseat that “when he grows up he will marry me and get to sit up in the front seat next to me”. I will never forget his sweet little voice!

  • Desiree says:

    My daughter is now nearly 14 but when she was younger, she made a construction paper gift with an acrostic poem from the word “MOM.” The first line was “my mom’s birthday is Nov 12th”. The second “Open” and the third line was my favorite and to this day, it makes me giggle. It said “My mom makes the moonshine.” It’s an adorable sentiment but obviously, there should have been a space. She also told me when she was little that “no matter what, you will always be my favorite person”

February 7, 2014

 

Hot Chocolate

Love In The Time Of Hot Chocolate!

     

      With all this talk of the Polar Vortex, blizzards, and massive cold fronts, I’m left hankering for something warm and wonderful. No, I’m not referring to sipping umbrella adorned Mai Tais on a Hawaiian beach, or frolicking through waves on the shores of Bali. I’m talking about the only immediate remedy I can think of for the frigid temperatures of a snowy, winter day…

Hot Chocolate!!

There’s nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of cocoa, while the rest of you is shivering in a state of deep freeze. Nothing compares to that creamy, chocolatey goodness, that fluffy mound of whipped cream, or that gooey marshmallow topping. (Unless you are my husband, who thinks marshmallows are the Napalm of food products) Not to mention, a cup of cocoa can put a smile on your kid’s face faster than a monkey doing the Macarena. And that’s saying something.

We are quickly approaching February 14th… that special day when cupid flies, crowds descend upon Godiva Chocolatier, and Hallmark sells cards en masse. Yes, Valentine’s Day is nearly here. But in my book, the “holiday” isn’t just about the love a wife shares with her spouse; it’s about the love a mother shares with her child. Love comes in many different forms, but it should be celebrated regardless, right?  So this Valentine’s Day, why not give your kid a little love in the form of cocoa?

 

I’m going to.

 

Love In The Time Of Hot Chocolate… (With Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream!)

(Recipe created by Jenna von Oy)

 

Cocoa Ingredients

The Ingredients…

 

Ingredients: Cocoa Mix

 

1  Cup Dutch processed cocoa

3/4  Cup Confectioner’s sugar

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Bar of 70% bittersweet chocolate bar

1 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Cardamom

(you will also need whole milk when you heat the cocoa, but the above recipe makes several cups of powdered mixture. I store mine in a glass mason jar in my pantry, where it’s cool enough to keep for a while!)

 

Directions:  You will be heating a ratio of one cup whole milk to 1 and 1/2 tbs of cocoa mix. You can add more cocoa mix, if you prefer a stronger beverage. I’ll let you do the math on how much milk you will need, based on how many family members you are making cocoa for!

~ Heat the milk in a small pot on the stove, on medium

~ Once the milk is sufficiently hot and frothy, add the cocoa mix and whisk until well incorporated and dissolved.

~ Pour into a mug!

 

Ingredients: Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

 

1 Cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbs Honey

1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla bean paste (you can substitute extract, if need be, but the paste is much tastier, and doesn’t thin out the cream!)

 

Directions: 

~ Put all ingredients into a large metal mixing bowl. I always put my bowl into the freezer first, so the bowl is ice cold when I begin. It makes for a stiffer whipped cream!

~ Using an electric hand whisk (or whatever mixing tool you prefer), whisk until the cream forms peaks.

~ Put a spoonful of whipped cream on top of the hot cocoa just before serving. The sweetness of the whipped cream dissolves into the cocoa, and makes for a beautiful flavor!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

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  • NW Mamma says:

    what a great cocoa receipe, I will definately try it out! thank you
    Gray reminds me so much of my girl’s (reason for following your blog)
    Your words take me back to a time of my life that I just loved. My girl’s are 21yrs and 25yrs. and I can still think of them at Gray’s age. Thank you Jenna for sharing your adventures and milestones with Gray. I love to read your blogs they are so heartfelt and honest in a good way!

January 31, 2014

 

Personality Galore!

Personality Galore!

 

If I was ever concerned about the potential of having a child with zero personality, boy was I wrong. And I do mean wrong in the biggest sense of the word. Wrong with a capital “W.” Wrong like Donald Trump’s comb-over, or a rug made from back hair, or trying to teach a cat to pee on the toilet. That’s how seriously wrong I would have been.

(I’m sorry for those visuals. Truly, I am.)

Even though she’s merely 20-months old, I can tell you Gray will never be a wallflower. She won’t be the kid who prefers to sit on the sidelines during a game, or smiles politely and lets someone else win an argument. She will have to work to perfect her poker face, because her dramatic and expressive looks tend to give everything away. No really– everything! (Not that I’m complaining. Perhaps it will assist me during her teenage years, cluing me in before she sneaks out of the house or “borrows” my car without asking.) Suffice it to say, Gray wears her emotions on her sleeve, just like her mama. Subtlety is just not our forte! And while that may not serve us well in certain instances, it has definitely helped me in my occupation as an actress. I’m not suggesting my daughter will follow the same career path, but judging by her range of expressions, that notion might not be so farfetched! I’ll let you decide for yourself…

My Little Ham

My Little Ham

 

And then there’s her more “serious” side…

 

The "Serious" Side

The “Serious” Side

 

Like I said. The acting thing may not be too farfetched. God forbid!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter too!

 

January 24, 2014

   

 

 These days, in the world according to Gray, everything is rainbows and butterflies. (Save for the rare occasion when a babysitter comes-a-knocking, but that’s another story!) Impromptu kitchen dance parties are encouraged, and people are prone to randomly bursting into songs about broccoli or potty training. Mommy and Daddy offer endless kisses and cuddles, strangers always smile back, everything is a learning opportunity, and disappointment is mostly fleeting. Reality is essentially a Sesame Street revival, minus the Muppets. Welcome to seeing life through the eyes of a 20-month old!

Since this is my first blog of 2014, I thought I’d give you an update on the neat little human we get to share our lives with. Now that Gray is beyond the infant phase and well into the throes of Toddler-dom, we are discovering just what a character we are raising! Her current age is, in short, incredible and incredibly trying. But most of all, it’s truly inspiring to watch our baby turn into a little girl… And a very happy-go-lucky one at that! I feel thoroughly blessed. Gray is unbelievably sweet, emotionally generous, intuitive and inquisitive, eager to be challenged, and quite comedic in her own right. She also happens to be super easygoing– unless it is nap time, of course, when “cranky” is sometimes a fitting adjective. But heck, I get cranky when I’m overtired too. Or when I don’t eat. Or when someone runs a stop sign and then has the audacity to honk at me for being in their way… But I digress. In general, Gray has a calm demeanor with a hint of stubbornness. And let’s be honest, she was probably genetically predestined to have the latter. I’m just saying.

As she moves toward her second birthday, Gray is constantly pushing the bounds of her physical and mental limitations. She certainly keeps us on our toes, but we can’t help but laugh our way through it all. It’s hard not to, given her innate comic timing! Her sense of humor never ceases to amaze us, and often catches us by surprise. If I thought sarcasm and wit were personality traits that wouldn’t reveal themselves for many years to come, boy was I wrong! My daughter is goofy, funny, full of vim and vigor, and smart as a whip. She is a force to be reckoned with. Oh yeah, and she knows it.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting we don’t have some trying times here at our house. The notorious “terrible twos” are on the horizon, and the dark and stormy clouds roll past from time to time. For the most part, I believe any fit or foul attitude (which have been very minor thus far, thankfully) is generally based on Gray’s inability to properly articulate her intentions. It must be frustrating to feel like she can never adequately express herself! I’m doing my best to practice patience when her temper flares, and she tries to do the same for me. I’d like to think we make a pretty good team.

Despite our attempts at patience, we certainly have our share of vocabulary battles. There are moments when my daughter and I are speaking two different languages, and things get lost in translation. For example, there was the time she politely asked to snack on mango, and I mistook it as a request for mushrooms. She typically loves mushrooms, but when you are craving a mango, there’s apparently no room for the consideration of fungi. The mango versus mushroom debate was enough to send her over the edge. And then there was the toast debacle that immediately followed. (In case you haven’t already guessed, naptime couldn’t come quickly enough that day!) During another failed attempt at decoding toddler-ese, I thought Gray was informing me that she was hungry… turns out she needed to go to the potty. Oops, my bad.

The occasional language barrier notwithstanding, Gray’s speaking abilities are advancing rapidly and most statements are remarkably clear. Her growth has been exponential. In fact, I think her vocabulary tripled after we spent the Christmas holiday with my siblings! It’s neat when she suddenly strings a whole sentence together, or recites words I wasn’t aware she knew such as “freckle,” “sushi,” and “excuse me.” I silently celebrate each time that last phrase is uttered; it’s like getting an invisible gold star in Parenting 101. There’s a lot of pride that comes from hearing my child extend polite words without being told to! Here’s hoping we can continue to nurture that.

In honor of Gray’s recent whimsies and witticisms, I thought I’d let her detail some of the fun facts regarding the current state of affairs in her world… Sort of. I’m certain she’d share these observations with you herself, were her inner dictionary extensive enough to do so. Let’s just say I channeled her sentiments and spirited attitude, and ran with it. It’s all in good fun!

 

The world according to Gray:

1. Yogurt and pickles are to be eaten obsessively, though not at the same time and only until Mommy cuts me off… which, sadly, is always too soon.

2. Brushing my teeth is an elective sport, and is mainly employed as a decoy at bedtime. One of these days, I’ll actually get Mommy to forget it’s time for me to go to sleep. It’s a work in progress.

3. Elmo is my BFF and my hero. Mommy isn’t a huge fan of idolizing music or TV icons, but she seems to be cool with my friends on Sesame Street. She says, “Better Elmo than Justin Beiber, I suppose.” Elmo is quite the superstar around here, and makes Barney look like an overstuffed goofball. (No offense, my high-strung purple pal.) In my humble opinion, Elmo should be present at the dinner table, tucked into bed at night, introduced to every houseguest, and even posted on the Christmas tree in lieu of the traditional star. Mommy tries to be as accommodating as possible, though sometimes Elmo’s celebrity status gets a bit excessive for her. Between you and I, I suspect she might be jealous.

Elmo-new

A Star Is Born

 

4. Bedtime isn’t complete without a menagerie of stuffed animals and baby dolls within my line of sight. In case of an emergency, they are there for moral support. I mean, what if one of them wakes up in the middle of the night from a bad dream?  I hate to hear Gus Giraffe cry.

5. Chapstick, otherwise known as ‘’chappy,’’ is technically a face crayon. It is to be applied liberally, whether or not it is actually necessary to cure dry lips. (Mama’s sidebar: Thankfully, the chapstick we have is kid-friendly and all natural. That said, I’ve banned its use indefinitely. Note to self, hide all makeup until she’s 30!).

6. When I’m loud, fear not. When I’m quiet, be afraid. Be very afraid. (Insert maniacal, wicked laughter here.)

Be Afraid

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

 

7. New vocabulary words are mentally filed away for later use, sometimes at the expense of Mommy and Daddy’s ability to sneak in conversations about subjects they refer to as, “for adult ears only.” Super fun terms like “fester” and “darn” are amusing to whip out when Mommy and Daddy least expect it, because it makes them realize just how much I’m listening and absorbing. A good example would be the time I overheard someone on a TV show say a bad word I wasn’t supposed to repeat, that rhymed with “truck.” Mommy and Daddy quickly changed the channel, and I’ve forgotten all about it. For now.

8. The best song to dance to is the Castle theme song. Call me crazy, but I’d take that over It’s A Small World any day! You’re skeptical? Go watch the opening credits, and see if you aren’t bopping your head to the beat and whistling along. It’s so catchy that Mommy even caught me dancing to it in my sleep!

9. Floors are prettiest when festooned with Hello Kitty and Curious George stickers, and a refrigerator is a canvas just waiting for its masterpiece. As is the front door. And the wall. And any other surface that screams out for my creative touch. After all, I am an artiste! My grandma gave me an awesome art easel for Christmas, so I’m learning how to hone my skills without making Mommy bust out the cleaning sponge… Though I’ll admit it’s pretty funny to watch her scramble when I “forget!”  (Mama’s sidebar: Needless to say, we are keeping a close eye on our mini-Michelangelo!)

I'm An Artiste

Mama’s Little Michelangelo

 

10. Puppies aren’t just pets; they are siblings. Consider that my warning. Those rascals tear open your Christmas presents, chew your socks, steal your afternoon snacks, and crawl into mommy’s lap while you are attempting to have quiet cuddle time. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience! On the other hand, they are also experts at photobombing, which I consider to be one of their redeeming qualities.

11. Hats are a cure-all. No one can possibly cry while wearing a funny hat. They should teach that in therapy! Not that I’ve ever been… I’m not even two, for Pete’s sake!

12. Bibs are futile accessories, as clothing is meant to be caked with food at all times. This includes socks and shoes, and often includes Mommy’s clothing as well. Any day that ends with clean apparel is an unsuccessful day indeed.  (Bonus points for getting food stuck in Mommy’s cleavage without her realizing it!)

 13. Straws are never to be used individually, but rather in abundance. Also, the more colorful the straws are, the better the beverage tastes.

The Final Straw

The Final Straw

 

14. Every time Mommy & Daddy say they are proud, a cookie or animal cracker should be negotiated. This almost never works, but I’m not giving up on it.

15. Any pens hooked over Daddy’s shirt lapel are just begging to be stolen. Any important work papers within reach on Mommy’s desk are just begging to be drawn on.

16. Peekaboo is for babies; utensils are the hip thing now! Unloading the dishwasher is a most enjoyable party game (Pin the tail on the donkey and Twister are WAY old school), and putting silverware in the drawer is cause for celebration and applause. During a recent tornado drill at my daycare, the teachers herded all of us into the basement, only to find me clutching my lunch silverware for dear life. Laugh all you like (they did), but you can’t say I’m not enterprising. At least if there had been a catastrophe, I would have been able to dig us out with a spork!

17. The more Christmas presents, the merrier. (Thanks for spoiling me, Grandmas!) It should be noted that the wrapping paper is equally as entertaining as the gift.

The More The Merrier

The More The Merrier

 

18. If it’s good enough for Mommy, it’s good enough for me. This is my official “Tao of Gray,” and is also known as: whatever Mommy has should be mine. The motto works when referencing food, clothing, and any item in Mommy’s purse. This especially includes that wonderful little iPhone thingamajig that I desperately yearn for, despite the fact that I haven’t figured out how to unlock it. YET.

19. Clearly, baby Proofing was installed so I would have an engaging puzzle to conquer. Spoiler alert: foam table corners can be peeled off, gate latches require some discipline but they’re doable, and toilet locks are a fool’s attempt at keeping me from finagling toys and toothpaste tubes underneath the lid.

20. You want to know a really fun joke to play on your dad? Steal his glasses and hide them in the laundry hamper. It’s hilarious watching your parents scour the house searching for them, and I promise your dad will laugh, despite his frustration. (Of course, that’s only if he actually locates them, so don’t hide them too well.) A joke on Mom is always fascinating too. Try this: Next time you’re in a public place, especially if you can manage to pull this off at church, point to your mom’s blouse and enthusiastically shout, “Boobie!” It’s really hilarious to watch your mom squirm. If you’re particularly lucky, her face will turn three shades of red.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into what our life is like with Gray these days… Who knows, maybe you were nodding and chuckling knowingly at her list, as you pictured your little one saying and doing similar things. Pretty soon Gray will be able to hold her own in a conversation, and I won’t have to wonder what’s going through that pretty little head of hers. Until then, I just can’t help speculating! It’s far too amusing.

As always, I love hearing from you, so please feel free to add your own observations in the comment section below. What would your child say if you could put words in his or her mouth?

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

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  • Kim Q says:

    Gray is such a cutie! I love her boots. :)

    My older daughter (7) was getting a new pair of glasses this week. The optician was adjusting them so they would stay where they were meant to stay on her face. He had to go into the back about 3 times during this process to get them sized appropriately. The third time he went back, she asked me, “How many pairs of glasses did they make for me anyway?” I got quite a chuckle out of that one, and she laughed too when I told her that he was only adjusting the one pair.

    (At 7 and 3, I no longer have to put words in my children’s mouths. They have oh so many words of their own!)

    All the best!

  • Melissa says:

    Gorgeous family and what a gorgeous little girl! LOVE her outfit–do tell WHERE did you get the top, boots, and hat?!! I have a divalicious three year old girl who would LOVE that whole ensemble :)

    • Thank you!! I found Gray’s boots on Ebay, so I’m not sure where you might locate a pair now. I believe they are Gap from a few years ago… The sweater, pants, and hat are from Janie & Jack!

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for the info! Love it all. LOVE!!

  • Marina says:

    I Had so much fun reading your blog, I also have a little one and could identify so many of the situations!!!!
    Have a wonderful year !

  • amanda says:

    As a mother of a 20 month old little boy, I know exactly what you are going thru and love reading your blog! It’s coem to my attention recently just how often I say “oh s**t”! Everytime my son drops somethng, falls or decides to ram his cars into the wall he feels the urge to repeat those words very clearly and not to my surprise but probably more clearly than most words he repeats :) I guess it’s time for mom and dad to watch what they say or buy some “earmuffs” for our little one!